RCM tip of the day: Consider a retail approach to price transparency

Cost information is becoming more important than ever for patients as they take on greater financial responsibility for their healthcare. To improve price transparency, providers should consider the approach used in the retail industry, and make cost information easily accessible, according to Allen Latham, vice president of revenue cycle management at TriZetto Provider Solutions, a Cognizant company.

"Online or brick-and-mortar retail is all about making the purchase easy. Whether it's a price comparison tool or an email reminder that an item has been left in a virtual shopping cart waiting to be bought, online retailers do all they can to ensure the sale goes through. Everyone who goes to a doctor wants healthcare cost transparency. It's that simple and that complicated," he told Becker's Hospital Review.

Patients don't always receive that transparency and may not know their out-of-pocket costs for tests and services, Mr. Latham said. He recommended providers look to the retail industry when trying to be transparent. 

"Providers should take a page from online retailers and make it easy for healthcare consumers to understand why treatment costs are what they are. The good thing is that many providers want to offer the information to patients by using automated cost estimation solutions," he said.

"With the right data and technology in place, a future visit to a healthcare provider may seem, from a billing standpoint, more like the local supermarket, which would be a positive development for healthcare in general and support healthcare consumers who want to know more about their care and understand why things cost what they do."

If you would like to share your RCM best practices, please email Kelly Gooch at kgooch@beckershealthcare.com to be featured in the "RCM tip of the day" series.   


More articles on healthcare finance:

CMS boosting Medicaid audits, oversight to 'strengthen safety net'
National coalition of big businesses to form bundled payment network
Ban on air ambulance balance billing sought in Florida



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